Carly Hudon advanced to the Class AA state girls golf tournament as a Sycamore freshman before narrowly missing the state cut as a sophomore and junior.
Four strokes separated Hudon from three possible state trips entering her senior season, close calls she no longer frets about.
Hudon embraced a more relaxed atmosphere upon transferring to St. Charles North.
No longer just an individual entry, she welcomed the chance to compete as part of a team.
That comfort has been reaffirmed as North prepares for this weekend’s state tournament at Hickory Point Golf Club in Forsyth. Her round of 91 at sectionals did not have to be Hudon’s undoing, as the North Stars’ other scorers stepped up to cement the final team qualifying berth.
“Whether we all do well at one time, we all hold each other up,” Hudon said, “so I think we’re a very good team together and we do a very nice job together.”
At Monday’s Class AA Rockford Guilford Sectional – as with many sites this season – the chemistry started with two players not yet ready for that subject as part of their high school curriculum.
Freshmen Gianna Furrie (76) and Kate Lillie (80) paced the North Stars while seniors Jessica Grill (88) and Hudon followed.
Sam Scroggin and Gabi Spinazze, who did not factor into the sectional team score, are upperclassmen, too.
For the past few seasons, North touted another Furrie with her share of seasoning.
While Ariana Furrie graduated in 2013 and moved on to a collegiate career at NCAA Division I Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y., her little sister wasted no time emerging on the scene.
“Gianna is a soccer player [a midfielder for the Tri-Cities Soccer Association Elite program] and she’s just a tough kid and loves to compete, and that was very apparent right away,” North Stars coach Chris Patrick said. “Any kind of adversity, she just seems to overcome that on the course and doesn’t get down. I mean, she might get a little angry, but she takes it out on the golf ball. She really keeps in control of her game.”
Lillie displayed similar resolve, rebounding from early inconsistency off the tee to finish 8-over par.
North knows it will need a large supply of poise from the entire team to contend for a trophy in the program’s third trip to state.
In 2003, the North Stars shot a two-day 697 to finish second. In 2005, a 677 was good enough for ninth.
Team scores have continued dropping since. An aggregate 643 was the AA standard in 2011 – weather shortened last year’s tournament to one round – and matching it would mean each North Star hovered around the mid- to upper-70s on both days.
“It’ll be fun to get down there and compete with some of the best teams in the state,” Patrick said.
Now that they’ve elevated themselves to that number, the North Stars want to see what they can do.